Jozini communities rejoice as they receive boreholes after years of suffering
Durban - DESTITUTE communities who have been on the receiving end of poor service delivery in the far north of KwaZulu-Natal, rejoiced as they received boreholes after years of suffering.
The provision of water has been a pipe dream for Jozini communities despite having one the country’s biggest dam, Jozini Dam.
And as a result of that, the small municipality has become a tourism attraction with nature reserves, top hotels and lodges located around the dam.
But the locals haven't found as much joy in their area as tourists would due to water scarcity.
This was a result of failures by the Umkhanyakude district municipality which was responsible to supply water to all its local municipalities, mostly in deep rural areas.
There were allegations of fraud and corruption comprising millions around water projects.
This prompted Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), to instruct the Jozini local municipality to restructure its budget and prioritise the provision of water as the country fought Covid-19.
This week was a life-changing experience as all 20 wards of the municipality received boreholes with electric pumps to supply clean water for the first time.
Delani Mabika, mayor of Jozini municipality said they spent R8 million to drill 20 boreholes and purchased one water tanker to ensure there was enough clean water.
He lambasted the failures of the Umkhanyakude district municipality which he said received conditional infrastructure grants for water provision in Jozini.
“It's sad that it has taken so many years for people to have access to clean water.
“If R8 million can go this far within a short period surely the district which mandated to provide water have done it better years ago.”
Mabika added: “The shortage of water has triggered many protests due to incompetence and corruption at Umkhanyakude District.
“We are still determined to buy more water trucks because one borehole per ward is also not enough.”
Mabika said the shortage of water crippled many developments in the area and has left communities vulnerable to diseases such as cholera and now Covid-19.
Samaria Simelane, 59, said she used to wake up at midnight in search of water from the spring before it could be depleted by animals.
“We appreciate the effort by the municipality. Life has been difficult without clean water. We travelled long distances searching for water which is not even clean. Our lives had been always at risk as we would travel kilometres to get water from the nearby nature reserve at midnight.
“Hyenas are roaming around. Some people have lost their lives through those struggles,” said Simelane.
A local ward councillor, Nkosinathi Myeni, attested to the struggle surrounding water supply. He said the situation became volatile at some point as communities would close roads in protests.
“It has been a challenge for many years. People risk their lives daily waking up at midnight to collect water.
“It was an unpleasant situation, especially in families with only elderly people. We hope this will bring a much-needed change to these communities and the municipality will continue to make provisions for water for all families,” he added.